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Yorkshire Water delivers on Living with Water to schools across Hull

Margaret Boyd

Education Advisor, Yorkshire Water

The devastating impact of flooding can be frightening for a primary school audience. Delivering that message to youngsters, who soak up knowledge, is a great way to engage the local community and pass on the important messages of preparing for future flooding events. Handling the delivery of the information can present a challenge.

At Yorkshire Water, the Living with Water team have put together a package of activities that we offer schools across the Hull and Haltemprice region. Providing outreach within schools has proved successful, allowing large groups of children to be involved. This has been either through interactive assemblies; presentations, role plays, demonstrations or through classroom workshops, or a mixture of both. The workshops rotate around several activities where pupils can see demonstrations of a SuDS house, carry out an experiment on drainage materials or have the chance to discuss how they might respond to an actual flood or how they might prepare for one. These engaging activities have allowed children to think about the ideas around the effects of flooding and how they, with their families, can be involved and be part of the process of getting communities prepared for future flooding events.

Top favourites from the outreach work are the role play and our SuDS model. Use of a few funny props in the role play; wigs, badges and the old fashioned landline, make the short play light hearted but hopefully memorable as a handful of pupils act out a scenario of a flooding event. The play emphasises the keys things to do to in order to keep people and homes safe. The second favourite is the SuDS model houses, which are subjected to a flood in front of the class. It clearly demonstrates that a few simple features such as swales, permeable surfaces and planting around a home can lead to much less flood water collecting in the sewers and drains.

Much learning goes on throughout the outreach work and by the end of the session it’s hoped that the key messages have been delivered in a very visual, yet sympathetic way. The pupils go home to talk about their day and pass on what they have learnt to the wider community.